CHICO, Calif. — A new report by the Chico Chamber of Commerce examines the impact of the Camp Fire on the local economy. The report concludes local businesses will face significant economic consequences if new challenges are not addressed quickly. Among the actions the chamber recommends is the discussion of long-term funding sources that may include a special tax to increase staffing for the police department.
The report examines several aspects of the Camp Fire's impact on the Chico economy including housing, police, roads, pensions and fire protection.
When it comes to housing the report surveyed the business community, to gauge the fire's impact on employees.
The report states "At the current pace of development, the outlook for providing permanent housing for our workforce within the foreseeable future is bleak. Without available housing we eliminate our ability to maintain our skilled workforce and recruit new professionals. This situation puts our economy at risk."
The report also points out that traffic collisions have increased nearly 50 percent since the Camp Fire.
"Since the events of November 8th, there has been a 25 percent increase in the traffic volumes from 2017-2018 (post Camp Fire) on our streets due to the overnight increase to the city's population. Typical traffic volumes average a 1-2 percent increase each year due to development and the associated population growth. This abrupt and severe spike in usage means that our roads will deteriorate at an accelerated pace."
The report calls for immediate action to address the situation.
"Without immediate action to address these challenges, the Chamber anticipates a loss of businesses and associated jobs, loss of headquarter status for businesses that started here and subsequently expanded out of the area, an increasing loss of talent either retained or recruited and a significant reduction of public services. Taken together, these factors will result in an erosion of Chico's quality of life which major employers say is the #1 reason they choose to live and work here."
The chamber encourages the City Council to continue moving forward its review of potential funding sources for road repairs, including revenue bonds. It also proposed discussing a special tax to increase public safety staffing.
"Now is the time for our community to discuss a revenue measure that will address public safety fully funding 10-15 new police officers to serve our increased population."
To read the full report click here.